The development and optimisation of mill discharge trommels, and specifically their screen panels, can be a neglected area in the complex operation of a minerals processing plant. Trommels are often seen as a ‘set and forget' component of the circuit, even when significant improvements in design are possible. A redesigned trommel and panel arrangement has simplified and added flexibility to the plant shutdown schedule at Kirkland Lake Gold's Fosterville Gold Mine in Central Victoria.
Prior to the trommel redesign, the shutdown frequency was determined by the expected life of trommel panels at 14 weeks. Planning downtime around this item led to higher maintenance costs and wastage in other areas of the plant. This was particularly disruptive with respect to mill lining change-outs, which were forced out of sequence and often changed prematurely.
Fosterville Gold engaged Metso Australia Limited to propose a new trommel design that would better suit the site. The new trommel was engineered to balance simplicity with performance, and incorporated the latest in Modular trommel design, modelling and Finite Elemental Analysis (FEA). Modular Panels and Spiral Segments achieve significantly longer life, and allow in-situ panel change outs, flexibility in spiral and dam positioning and an improvement in classification performance. Trommel panel life has significantly increased from 14 to 71 weeks in the trommel's highest wearing zone. The new design has eliminated some risks to safety by reducing manual labour and lifting requirements during shutdowns. There is greater flexibility with respect to shutdown requirements. The site is no longer at the mercy of trommel panel lifespan, which allows for better optimisation of wear components in the circuit.
Pyke, J D, Katov, K and Ciutina, S T, 2018. Modular SAG mill discharge trommel for maintenance flexibility and performance, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 613–620 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).